It was eight in the morning when Bikramjit Baulia received a call from an unknown number. The ‘True Caller’ app identified the caller as Anupam Barbhuyan. Anupam had tested Covid-negative a couple of days back and was going through immense post-Covid syndrome- mostly depression and anxiety coupled with extreme fatigue. Anupam requested Bikramjit to sing for him over the phone. The request? Bengali folk songs. The 33-year-old businessman obliged and sang Hason Raja compositions, “Bokul Ful" and Subir Nandi’s “Mayer Adhikar." As once Beethoven rightly said, “Music can change the world." As for Anupam, it changed his state of mind.
Ever since Bikramjit Kar (Baulia), as he prefers to be addressed for his passion for Baul (Bard) singing, posted on his Facebook page that he would like to sing for Covid-19 patients and give them some happy moments, he has revived about 250 such requests.
“In the first phase of Corona and the pandemic lockdown, people were stressed due to the alienation and separation from the society. It was almost a taboo. The home isolation added to their anxiety. I moved around trying to make people understand that one needs help and compassion in these trying times. This time it’s even worse. A horrible sense of panic has gripped most of us. It was a week back, I came across a post by famous Bangla singer Lopamudra Mitra where she expressed to sing for COVID affected. This touched me, inspired by Didi’s greatness I too gave a post saying that I would like to sing for COVID patients and affected," says Bikramjit Baulia to News18.
Trained in classical singing, Bikramjit sings folk songs but has struggled to create a niche for himself for six long years in Kolkata. He tried his luck in a couple of singing talent hunts but couldn’t scale the ladder. Finally, he returned to Silchar in Assam where he runs a medical store. Singing, however, was never out of his life.
“For the first couple of days no one responded to my post as no calls came. My friends called me names and said that I have lost it. They were pretty sure that no one in their hardship would like to listen to someone singing to them. I never lost hope and on the fourth day an old lady called up and requested me to sing for her. She had recovered from COVID recently. Then calls started pouring in and so did the request," says Bikramjit. “People from Barak Valley, Kolkata, Ranchi, and even Mumbai called up and expressed their wish for their favorite song. I sing four to five songs for them on the mobile phone. It’s mostly Bangla folk numbers and occasional Hindi ones too."
An 82-year-old lady calls him every day, and recently she tested negative. Bikramjit says he is concerned about the mental health of the COVID affected and songs in this space, according to him, helps a lot. There are many good reasons to keep music in your life, especially now that we’re living in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast,” wrote the English dramatist and poet William Congreve. Music therapy touched many lives with soothing sounds and rhythms, and has been shown through research to effectively treat the symptoms of everything from schizophrenia to post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s wonderful for maintaining good mental health which comes at a premium at a time like this. For someone fighting COVID, music eases their worries and aid in their healing. Studies have shown a strong link between soothing music and healing.
“I don’t have any specific time, I am at service whenever someone calls up and wishes for a song. I do that while being at my chemist store too. Besides, I also provide free of cost delivery to patients. A drive up to seven to ten kilometres to deliver the medicine during the pandemic lockdown. I wanted to be a fashion designer but couldn’t be so. I design my own costumes from my shows which I do in plenty in the region," he concludes.
Bikramjit wanted to make it big in the field of music, seldom did he realize that he would be doing something great with his passion for music. As it’s rightly said, “One who sings frightens away ills."